Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Review: Daughters-in-Law by Joanna Trollope

Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Doubleday, 2011

Rachel loves being at the centre of her large family. She has devoted herself fiercely to bringing up her three sons, and continues to do so now they are all grown up - and getting married.
In return, the boys remain deeply attached to her, and their father, Anthony, and to their childhood home on the wide, bird-haunted coast of Suffolk.
But when her youngest son, Luke, gets married, Rachel finds that she can no longer rely on her time-honoured role as provider and matriarch - her daughters-in-law are usurping her position.

Charlotte, the newest daughter-in-law, is a rather spoilt youngest child who is used to getting her own way and has no intention of taking a backseat to her mother-in-law. Right from the start she makes it quite clear..
" Luke is my husband. First!"
And when she becomes pregnant explaining to her bewildered husband why he can't tell his parents...
 "The mother's mother is always the first to know. The mother's family comes first ... That's how it works."
Her attitude affects the other members of the family and much to Rachel's dismay they all begin to pull away from her control and act independently. A crisis brings several issues to the surface which will challenge them all to confront the need for change.

Joanna Trollope excels in writing about relationships and family dynamics. In this story she explores the age-old difficulties that arise when the mother of a son must accept she is no longer the most important woman in his life. The shift in the balance of power that requires letting go, understanding and compromises on both sides is not an easy one as the author demonstrates through her very human and easy to relate to characters.  

Another book that has more depth than is at first apparent and I enjoyed it immensely.


  1. I think Trollope sometimes gets a bad rap doesnt she? I like her when Ive seen her in interviews and I will one day pick something of hers up!

  2. Oh I'm glad you enjoyed this one. It's on my TBR pile after I read an interview with her. I haven't read many of her books at all but this one really intrigued me.

    I've just finished reading "When God Was a Rabbit" - hope you're enjoying it. I thought it was a lovely, simple read - quite beautiful though!!

    Hope your staying warm and not blanketed with snow!!

  3. Jessica - I agree and it's probably because she writes of very ordinary domestic drama but I think that makes her books so much easier to relate to.

    BG - I haven't read many either but this one appealed and I enjoyed it.....maybe because I've been both a DIL and a MIL.

    Finished When God was a Rabbit and loved it. Simple and beautiful is the perfect description.

    No snow here but very cold!!!!!